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Sat, Oct 18, 2003

Death On Aero-Mexico Flight

Why Is Alexander Seiss Dead?

There are still a lot more questions than answers about the death of an Austrian man who became rowdy and had to be subdued by passengers and crew aboard Aero-Mexico flight 5. The airline says Seiss got on board the Mexico City-Paris flight last Saturday, apparently carrying a bottle of whiskey. As the flight progressed and meal service was underway, Seiss became so unruly that the flight was diverted to New York's JFK Airport. But by the time the 767 touched down, the 25-year-old Austrian was dead.

"We've been told it's an open investigation and we should wait for the outcome," said Gregor Csorsz, spokesman for the Austrian consulate in Manhattan, which notified Siess' parents about his death.

Another Austrian official in New York, Sigurd Pacher, said that the victim's brother traveled to the city, but was too upset to talk. "He's still trying to cope with what happened," said Pacher, who did not give the brother's name.

Details about what happened on board the flight are still sketchy. The investigation continues. But at this point, unnamed law officials in New York say Seiss "freaked out" and charged the cockpit. ABC News reported Seiss was restrained by a flight attendant, but broke out of his plastic handcuffs and attacked his captor. As many as a dozen passengers helped subdue the Austrian man a second time. They reportedly took him to the back of the aircraft and tied him up with a pair of women's pantyhose. A doctor on board the flight may have injected Seiss with a sedative at that point. ABC reports the man's lips and tongue changed color. He was dead when the plane landed.

The New York/New Jersey Port Authority is handling the investigation, but isn't saying much. An autopsy on the man proved inconclusive. Officials are now waiting on a toxicology report, due next week, in hopes of finding out why Seiss is dead.

FMI: www.panynj.gov

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